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European new car registrations fell by 18 per cent in August

Time 12 months ago

Hopes of a recovering European car market have been dashed as car registrations fell by 18 per cent year-on-year last month, new data reveals.

Data from Jato shows August’s 18 per cent drop is even more marked when compared with July, which fell by just four per cent compared to the same month last year, and closer to the 24 per cent decrease seen in June.

In total, the market registered 881,897 new cars last month – the lowest number recorded for August since 2016.


Year-to-date figures show a similarly downbeat picture, with 7,247,341 new cars registered, down by 33 per cent from 2019 and the lowest result over the last decade.

All signs pointing towards huge September 70-plate new car sales despite restricted supply at dealers

Despite the fall, SUVs and electric vehicles rose to the top of the pile.

In August four in 10 new cars registered were SUVs – this being 358,100 units, a decrease of just 12 per cent.


This decline in sharp contrast to the 20 per cent, 35 per cent, or 44 per cent decrease posted by midsize cars, city cars and MPVs respectively.

The Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008, VW T-Roc, Hyunda Kona, Ford Puma, VW Tiguan, Toyota C-HR and the Kia Niro all posted large gains.

Jato data reveals consumers bought 188,700 electrified vehicles, an increase of 121 per cent compared to August 2019, and representing 21.4 er cent of total registrations – a new record for the industry.

Hybrids accounted for 49 per cent of EV sales total registrations in August, while pure electric cars totalled 48,800 units – an increase of 111 per cent.

Overall, the Volkswagen Golf led the European sales charts.

Felipe Munoz, global analyst at Jato Dynamics, said: ‘We continue to say that it is still too early to talk about recovery and the results last month indicate that there are still big issues that need to be addressed in the industry.

‘Fortunately, the larger drop seen in August was mostly caused by business/fleet registrations, as private registrations only fell by four per cent. This is a good indicator that the situation is not as dire as it might seem.

‘The difficult environment arising from the global pandemic, has led to one positive change – now more than ever, consumers are shifting from petrol or diesel cars to lower emissions vehicles, despite their relative expense.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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